We'll start with a virgrant about Gibb's smacks since I figure probably a few of you will either have experienced this, will experience this, or know what I mean because something similar happened to you. Always start with the identifiable bit-Journalism 101. (That's a lie...start with a hook. But I digress.)
I flew to Texas. I packed kinda heavy. I sent my three kids off on a complicated schedule that involved transfers and nights here and there... they had multiple school days while I was gone and one of them had a cold.
I brought all that with me.
I also didn't bring my 'handler.' My best friend, more often than not, offers both organizational services as well as social lubrication. In her words, I socialize like I swim. If she hops in the water with me, hangs out by my side, within a few minutes of bobbing around in Uncle Benny's pond, I've ripped off my life jacket and I'm laughing. If you just drop me in the pond, I forget I can swim, I panic, I flail, and I end up an emotional train wreck, arms wrapped around my knees on the dock refusing to get back in the water.
No one hopped in the water with me. No one organized me. I was required to be a big girl. And remember, I was carrying all that luggage. Were the kids okay? Did someone remember to get them after school or were they home alone? With a high fever. Which caused dizziness and hallucinations. And I have wrought iron chairs so I was sure one would fall over, knock their hallucination filled gourd on a chair and lie dying in a pool of blood with no one noticing until the next day when they didn't show up at school...
Hey, back off. I'm a writer. I get paid for my overactive imagination, thank you very much.
So, the first night I stared at a ballroom full of people, teeth bared (arguably, they were smiling), with complete and utter terror. Everyone was talking to someone. Everyone except me. (It felt, btw. There were literally at least a hundred people who would have gladly given me a chair and talked books, tv, sexy men...had I done more than smile vaguely and walk in a big circle while having my internal panic attack. Please remember, it wasn't everyone being assmonkies, it was me freaking the hell out...I just couldn't see it AT THE TIME.)
Eventually, I took my terror and fled. On the way out the door, my publisher tried to start a conversation and introduce me to a fantastic lady. (Again, more proof that people WOULD have talked to me. Some were trying. I was weighed down with the baggage, though, and my blinders were quite firmly in place.) I smiled, met her, wasn't sure where to go with the conversation and continued my terrified exodus.
And then I got lost in the hotel. Yeah, for real. Had I not gotten terrified and lost, I wouldn't have gotten my ghost pic, but that's neither here nor there.
It wasn't until the next day when a friend gave me a verbal Gibb's smack that I really looked at what I was doing. Aside from not living in the moment, not enjoying the fact I was surrounded by people who love books as much as me, I was busy deciding I wasn't good enough to be there.
I know I'm not the only one to do that. I had this whole mental ranking thing in place. Oh, she has a contract with so-and-so? Better, bigger author. Oh, she's with so-and-so? Equal. And there were very few equals in my mental estimation. EVERYONE was better, bigger, belonged there...and I firmly decided I didn't belong.
Whether it's clothes, purses, bank account balances, cars, book contracts, weight, hair, boob size...we women are HARD on ourselves. We're the very best at knocking ourselves down and the very last ones to agree we're deserving of any sort of accolade. (I'm pretty sure I'm not alone there, am I?)
Once I let the bullshit go (coming down with the BlackPlagueOfDeath probably wasn't helping, either...it was like the perfect storm of what can go wrong, rofl), I could look back and see smiling faces. I can remember talking and laughing with people. It was a really fun weekend.
When I wasn't mentally flogging the shit out of myself.
The moral of this virgrant? Thank goodness for friends with verbal Gibb's smacks and if you have this moment...you're not alone. Do remember, though, which fortunatly I did, even when I was doing it...it's all going on in your head. Don't go all Carrie on people because you're struggling with your self confidence. You'll regret that far more than you will ghost hunting in a haunted hotel by yourself.
Oh, and news!! I promised you news. I don't know if you've noticed but if you don't get enough of me rambling over here, I blog twice a month over at the Diamond Authors blog because I'm a Diamond Author!!
Also, I'll be participating in a March Madness blog hop with some really fantastic authors and there are some SERIOUSLY great prizes. Keep an eye out for details.
Until later, lovies, Happy Writing!!